Some Asian countries have the highest vaccination rates

When Cambodia started offering COVID-19 vaccines, people were lining up. But three months after the start of his campaign, only 11% of the Cambodian population had received at least one vaccine. dose.

In Japan, it took two more weeks to reach this level.

Today, both countries have some of the best vaccination rates in the world. Asian countries with high rates include rich and poor nations. Some are big and some are small. But all of them have experience with infectious diseases. The viral disease linked to COVID-19, SARS, caused an epidemic in 2002.

Asian countries with high vaccination rates have also chosen to order vaccines from several different manufacturers.

Some Asian nations started later than others

Most highly vaccinated Asian countries began offering vaccines later than other places, including the United States. As nations began to inject their citizens, countries like the United States, Britain and India were reporting increasing numbers of deaths. It helped get people who had doubts vaccinated.

“I was worried, but at the moment we are living under the threat of COVID-19. There’s no option but to be vaccinated, ”said Rath Sreymom, a Cambodian mother. She took her five-year-old daughter, Nuth Nyra, to get the vaccine once Cambodia opened its program to her age group.

Cambodia was one of the first countries in the Asia-Pacific region to launch its immunization program. He launched his effort on February 10. It was still two months after the United States and Britain started theirs.

The effort started slowly. In early May, the Delta variant, a new version of the virus, was spreading rapidly around the world. At the time, only 11% of Cambodia’s 16 million people had received their first injection, Our World in Data reported. In the first three months that the United States offered vaccines, about 20% of the population had received their first vaccine.

But today, 78 percent of Cambodia is fully vaccinated, compared to 58 percent in the United States. Cambodia now offers booster blows. She plans to extend her program to children from the age of three.

From the start, Cambodia has experienced a high demand for the vaccine. Prime Minister Hun Sen took advantage of his close ties to China to order nearly 37 million doses from China, some of which have been donated. Cambodia has also received large donations from the United States, Japan, Great Britain and the international COVAX program.

Still, it took a while to get enough supplies. Many other Asian countries that started their programs later have struggled even more.

The problems worsened when India, the Regions major vaccine producer, suspension of vaccine exports.

Many Asian countries have put in place extreme stay-at-home measures and travel rules that have kept the virus count low.

But when the Delta variant began to spread throughout the region, cases increased rapidly. And people have signed up to be vaccinated.

Malaysia has made additional efforts to ensure that all groups receive the vaccine. With the help of the Red Cross, he administered vaccines to people living illegally in the country and other groups who may have feared showing up for a government-backed vaccination.

“We made the vaccine accessible to all, no questions asked, ”said Sazaly Abu Bakar. He is director of the Tropical Infectious Diseases and Research Education Center in Malaysia.

Malaysia started out slowly. In the first three months, it gave their first dose to less than five percent of its 33 million people.

Then the number of cases started to increase. Malaysia has taken action by purchasing more doses and setting up hundreds of vaccination centers. It has set up centers capable of providing up to 10,000 pictures in a day. Today, 76 percent of the Malaysian population is fully immunized.

Many other countries in the Asia-Pacific region also have vaccination rates near or above 70%. They include Australia, China, Japan, and Bhutan. In Singapore, 92 percent are fully immunized.

Some countries in Asia, however, continued to struggle. India celebrated the administration of its billionth dose of COVID-19 vaccine in October. But the country has more than 1.4 billion inhabitants. With two doses needed, that means only 29 percent of the population is fully immunized.

Indonesia started offering vaccines earlier than many other Asian countries. But he also struggled. Its difficulties come mainly from the extension of its campaign through the thousands of islands that make up the country.

Japan’s immunization program was particularly slow in its first few months. Many people around the world have wondered how he could organize the Summer Olympics, which opened in July. Japan didn’t start offering vaccines until mid-February, as this required additional testing on the Japanese. The move has been widely criticized as unnecessary.

But then he started to progress. The then Prime Minister, Yoshihide Suga, brought in military medical personnel to run large vaccination centers in Tokyo and Osaka. He relaxed the laws to let dentists, rescuers and laboratory assistants give injections in addition to doctors and nurses. Japan is now about 76% fully immunized.

Many in Japan express doubts about vaccines in general. But after the number of deaths rose sharply around the world, many put their doubts aside.

Retiree Kiyoshi Goto is already seeking a recall. “I want to get a booster shot as our antibody levels go down,” said the 75-year-old.

And in Phnom Penh, Nuth Nyra was happy. The 5-year-old said she was afraid of COVID-19 before, but not anymore.

“I felt a bit of pain when I received the blow,” said the young girl. “But I didn’t cry.”

I am Ashley Thompson.

And I am John Russell.

The Associated Press reported this story. Ashley Thompson adapted it for VOA Learning English. Mario Ritter, Jr. was the editor.

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Words in this story

dose – not. the amount of a medicine, medication or vitamin that is taken at one time

option -not. something that can be chosen; a choice or a possibility

wakeup call) -not. an extra amount of a substance (called a vaccine) that is injected with a needle into a person or animal to help protect against disease

Region -not. a region or part of a country or part of the world

accessible –Adj. can be reached or approached; can be used

Dentiste -not. a person whose job it is to take care of people’s teeth

nurse -not. a person who is trained to care for sick or injured people and who usually works in a hospital or doctor’s office

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